Choosing a Pediatrician
Guest blogger Jaime Bedrin is a Journalism professor at Columbia University and Montclair State University. She’s a mom of two very active boys.
There’s a lot at stake when it comes to choosing a pediatrician. You’re going to rack up many visits during those first few years of your kids’ lives — when they’re healthy and when they’re not. So, it’s a good idea to feel comfortable with whomever you choose to care for your little snot factory.
So what should you look for in a pediatrician? Some parents look for an intimate practice with only one physician. Others prefer a busy practice with multiple physicians. Some parents are impressed with tech-savvy docs who take notes on iPads. Other parents prefer doctors who favor a holistic approach.
When my husband and I were looking for a pediatrician for our first-born son, we asked friends who they recommended. Then we set up a prenatal consultation with that practice. We liked all the doctors in the practice. But we especially liked the convenient location. It was a good fit all around.
Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Sometimes parents clash with their children’s doctors. A lot of this could be avoided with research. Figure out what’s a deal breaker and what’s negotiable. For example, do you need to be able to email your physician or are you okay calling the office? My current practice does not use email to communicate with patients. I wish it did. However, my practice is staffed 365 days a year. And every weekday there are sick children walk-in hours from 7:30-8:30 with no appointment necessary. Genius!
Here are other questions to consider before signing on with a practice:
- What happens when your physician is away? Is there a back-up doctor?
- Is the office staff helpful?
- How long does it take to reach your doctor?
- Are you and the physician on the same page when it comes to vaccines? Some have very strict policies about vaccines, so it’s better to find out before you’ve committed to a practice.
- Where are the admitting privileges?
- Is there a sick child waiting room?
- Can you access and download health records online?
Bottom line: Ask around. Talk to your friends and their friends about their doctors. Trust your gut. And if you are unhappy, change. Chances are, you will be there a lot, so you want to be happy.
What are your must-haves for making your sick baby all better? Create a weeList and share it!